Now Under One Owner, Cialis Is Primed to Challenge Viagra

Eli Lilly Buys Out Partner for $2.1 Billion, Will Likely Up Ad Spend

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Viagra, consider yourself warned.

Buoyed by a 34% boost in Cialis sales in the first half of the year, Eli Lilly last week spent $2.1 billion to buy out marketing partner Icos Corp. and now appears to be prepping a campaign aimed at boosting share gains even further.
An Eli Lilly spokeswoman said the company has no plans to change its advertising other than to continue to tout ED from a men's health and education standpoint.
An Eli Lilly spokeswoman said the company has no plans to change its advertising other than to continue to tout ED from a men's health and education standpoint.

Lilly already did most of the heavy lifting on Cialis, and many in the pharmaceutical industry believe the company will take advantage of a streamlined sales-and-marketing force by increasing its ad budget to make more of a run at Pfizer and its market-leading erectile-dysfunction drug Viagra.

'Spend a lot more'
"They've consistently eroded Viagra's market share," said a pharma executive who works on the account of the third impotence drug, Levitra, which is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline and Schering-Plough. "Based on what their CEO said, you have to think they'll spend a lot more than they have."

An Eli Lilly spokeswoman said the company has no plans to change its advertising other than to continue to tout ED from a men's health and education standpoint. Grey Worldwide, which handles the business, did not return a call at press time.

But in a conference call, Lilly Chairman-CEO Sidney Taurel said the main reason for acquiring Icos was to reap the "full value" of Cialis. "We are very encouraged by this increased growth in the U.S.," Mr. Taurel said. "We expect to continue to make progress."

A 27% share of market
Cialis' sales jumped 34% in the first half of 2006 this year. According to pharmaceutical-information company Verispan, Cialis now has a 27% share of the $3 billion ED market, compared to 22% last year. Viagra, which once had the category to itself, is down to 60% share. Levitra holds 13% of the market.

Yet all three impotence medications have pulled back on spending. Cialis spent just $16.5 million in measured media in the first half of 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence, after laying out $110 million last year. Levitra has spent $33 million so far this year, topping Viagra's $31 million.
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